Member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program have committed to work together to cut greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Tajikistan Resident Mission (TJRM).

“We endorse the Regional Action on Climate Change: A Vision for CAREC to help countries implement their commitments under the Paris Agreement,” said the joint ministerial statement issued at the 22nd CAREC Ministerial Conference that took place in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, on November 30.  

The statement was endorsed by ministers and high-level officials from Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

“I am confident this shared vision will enhance the CAREC Program’s impact on this most critical climate challenge facing the subregion,” said Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa.  “I look forward to concrete progress on bringing forward more climate projects—including in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, efficient water use, economic diversification, and strengthening supply chains—to improve the region’s climate resilience and adaptation.”

The vision reportedly emphasizes the importance of the energy transition and improved use of renewable energy sources, strengthening regional electricity trade, deploying innovative financing solutions, and investing in climate-resilient infrastructure and policies.  It calls for strengthened collaboration and coordination with the program’s development partners in supporting the region’s climate agenda.

According to ADB TJRM, Tajikistan delegation comprised Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Farhod Vosidiyon, and Deputy Chair of the Committee for Environmental Protection Abdulqodir Mavlodod.

A scoping study published earlier this year showed climate change is expected to have severe impacts in the CAREC region, including higher-than-average temperature rises, greater water scarcity, expanded desertification, and glacial melting.

To address water issues in the region, CAREC will support the countries to improve their expertise and capacities in transboundary water management, water productivity, and to invest in more efficient irrigation systems to boost agricultural productivity.

CAREC will also support efforts to decarbonize transport and continue deepening regional connectivity with efficient transport technologies and infrastructure. Other priority areas include developing climate-smart cities with electrified mass transit systems and promoting climate and disaster resilience through regional risk management and financing initiatives.

The CAREC Program is a partnership of countries and development partners working together to promote sustainable development, accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty.  ADB hosts the CAREC secretariat.

The Ministerial Conference functions as a high-level strategy-setting and policy body. It provides overall strategic guidance and serves as a platform to discuss and debate important policy and strategic issues of regional relevance.  The Ministerial Conference exercises overall accountability over the results of the CAREC Program.

The Ministerial Conference is held on an annual basis and is attended by Ministers of state agencies in charge of overall planning and empowered with full decision-making rights, such as the ministries of economic development, finance, or the office of the president. CAREC development partners also participate in the meeting.  Observers may be invited to the Ministerial Conference, subject to agreement by the participants.

Established in 1966, the Asian Development Bank is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.